Most consider The Emperor card to be the “father figure” of the tarot card deck. Upright, The Emperor stands for order, protection, and security. It can also be a sign that you’re capable of providing for yourself and your loved ones and it signifies authority and your ability to take care of the important tasks in your life. When it shows up in the upright position, you’ll see The Emperor as a powerful card that signifies your ability to provide law and order in your life and lead with a firm hand.
When The Emperor card is reversed, it represents restrictive, selfish, or overbearing power and control. This is helpful when evaluating your relationships, career, and finances.
The reversed Emperor card can help you see where you’re being too domineering or rigid in your life. Maybe it’s time to be more flexible with the people in your life. On the other hand, it may be that someone in your life is being too controlling. The reversed Emperor card can help you see if your relationships are uneven or lack support.
This card can also help you explore where you need to feel security, order, or discipline in your life. Sometimes, we want to improve in certain areas, like our career, but we’re not putting in the work to make that happen. To see change, we need to prepare, make a plan, and follow through with determination. The reversed Emperor card can help you see where you’re not putting in the effort required to improve yourself and your life.
Reading this reversed card using the “blocked/restricted” meaning
Let’s look at ways you can read your reversed Emperor card. First, you can read this card using the “blocked or restricted” meaning. Here, you’re looking for a block standing in the way of the upright meaning of the card. For The Emperor, this means something is standing in the way of your security, stability, and authority. Is an obstacle keeping you from feeling secure in life? How can you reorganize things so that you feel more in control?
Say you pull the reversed Emperor card when thinking about your finances. This could be asking you to investigate what’s keeping you from financial security. Perhaps someone in your life is blocking your path to financial freedom. Have you been spending a lot of your money on a particular person, trying to please or impress them?
It might be time to balance your finances in regards to that relationship. Maybe you’ve been frivolous with your money, and it’s causing you to come up short. In that case, you can take the time to evaluate your budget for the month carefully and see where you can start saving.
The reversed Emperor card can encourage you to sit down and go over your finances to see what changes need to be made.. Remember, this card represents proper planning and execution, so it can inspire you to get serious about your spending habits.
Reading this reversed card using the “opposite” meaning
You can also read the reversed Emperor card using the “opposite” card meaning. Here, you’re looking for the opposite meaning of the upright card. For The Emperor, this means a lack of authority, stability, or protection.
In this case, the reversed Emperor card is really about powerlessness, instability, and danger. It can serve as a warning that something is out of control in your life.
For example, maybe you pull the reversed Emperor card while thinking about your career. Perhaps there’s new leadership at your job, and they’re making a lot of changes. Maybe there’s even someone who has been competing for your job title.
Here, the reversed Emperor card can help you see where you’ve been feeling powerless about recent changes, or like your career isn’t in your control. Are you being supported and encouraged in the workplace? Are you being treated fairly?
Maybe it’s time to speak up for yourself and take back control. Communicating with your superiors and colleagues can help guarantee that you’re on the same page about what’s going on, and that you know what’s expected of you, and they know what you can handle and how you want to be treated.
Reading this reversed card using the “worse” meaning
Another way you can read your reversed Emperor card is using the “worse” reversed card meaning. When you read your cards like this, you look at the upright meaning of the card and put it in a negative light. For The Emperor, this could mean you’re displaying authority, but maybe you’re going overboard. Is there somewhere that you’re being overly controlling or inflexible? This card can help you see if you’re being too rigid somewhere in your life.
Say you pull the reversed Emperor card when thinking about your family. When you’re providing for a family, it’s easy to become a little controlling. Maybe you’ve been particularly rough on your kids or spouse lately because of stress, or maybe you’ve been spending so much time meeting everyone’s needs that you’re missing out on the fun.
The reversed Emperor card can remind you to relax, take a deep breath, and think about where you can loosen up a bit. It’s important to enjoy the simple things in life, and this card can help you remember that!
Reading this reversed card using the “no/not” meaning
Finally, you can read your reversed Emperor card using the “no/not” card meaning. Here, you put a “no/not” in front of the upright meaning of the card. For The Emperor card, this can mean “no authority” or “no security”, or possibly “no protection.” Are you feeling unsupported by the people in your life? Are you not supporting yourself? Are you afraid to show your strength?
For example, if you pull the reversed Emperor card when thinking about your love life, perhaps you’re in a relationship where you feel you’re lacking authority or security. Sometimes there’s an unequal balance of power in our relationships. Is your partner being controlling or do you feel like you’re always bending to their will rather than compromising?
It’s important to be on the same page in our relationships, and the reversed Emperor card can help empower you to speak up and discuss what you’re experiencing and what you expect from your partner.